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Published On: Sun, Aug 11th, 2013

Al-Qaeda Campaign against Syrian Kurds Part of August September War on Syria

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Christof Lehmann (nsnbc), – An increase in violence and attacks in the predominantly Kurdish region of northern Syria elicits international and regional responses. The President of Iraq´s Kurdish Administrated Region, Massoud Barzani, calls for an investigation.

Clashes between brigades of the Free Syrian Army and the al-Qaeda associated Jabhat al-Nusrah in the region intensify, while the Syrian Arab Army conducts successful counterinsurgency operations the region’s capital Deir Ez-Zor.

President of the Kurdish Administrated Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani

President of the Kurdish Administrated Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani

Iran´s head of state warns against the spread of civil war throughout the region. Analysts have forecast a major military and political campaign against Syria in August and September, to elicit and justify calls for a no-fly zone, humanitarian corridors and eventually a military intervention.

On Monday, 5 August, militants from the al-Qaeda associated Jabhat al-Nusrah, mounted a military campaign in the Tal Abyad district of the Raqqa Govenorate in the predominantly Kurdish region of northern Syria. The mass kidnapping elicited international condemnation. In one attack, the Jabhat al-Nusrah insurgents murdered approximately 330 women, elderly men, as well as many children. Since then, there have been reports about house to house searches, roadblocks, summary executions and renewed massacres from the region in media worldwide.

Most of Syria´s oil reserves are located in the region, and according to analysts, the campaign against the predominantly Kurdish region around Deir Ez-Zor is closely tied to the European Union´s decision from April 2013, to lift the ban on the import of Syrian oil from “rebel held” territories to finance “the opposition”.

In April 2013 the EU lifted its ban on the import of Syrian oil from "rebel held territory to finance the opposition".

In April 2013 the EU lifted its ban on the import of Syrian oil from “rebel held territory to finance the opposition”.

The massacre, the surge in the level of violence and reports about summary executions and house to house searches by the Western and Saudi Arabia backed Jabhat al-Nusrah brigades and other al-Qaeda linked terrorists has prompted the President of the Kurdish Administrated Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani to respond, saying:

“If it appears that innocent Kurdish citizens and women and children are under threat of death and terrorism, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will be prepared to defend them”. 

The violence in the region escalated after Kurdish self-defense militia ousted al-Qaeda associated militants from large parts of northern and northeastern Syria in July, managing to push the Salafist fighters from several key locations, including Ras al-Ain at the Syrian – Turkish border.

According to reliable intelligence nsnbc received in July however, the al-Qaeda linked insurgents were holding a relatively low military profile throughout July, to establish arms caches and to otherwise prepare for a major military campaign, to take place in August and September. 

The progress of the Jabhat al-Nusrah / al-Qaeda insurgents in the predominantly Kurdish region since August, is being weakened and has in part been foiled due to clashes between the al-Qaeda associated groups and brigades of the Free Syrian Army.

Clashes have, among others, been reported between the members of the so-called “Iraq and Sham Islamic Emirate” and the FSA in the al-Reqqa province in northern Syria. Scores of the al-Qaeda militants have reportedly been killed in battles for control over sugar canes which had been stolen from the sugar factory in al-Reqqa. The situation is further complicated by the presence of approximately 17.000 fighters from the Kurdistan Worker´s Party who deployed to the Kurdish Administrated Region of Iraq after signing a peace accord with the Turkish government of P.M. Tayyip Erdogan. Analysts have forecast that the peace accord and deployment to Iraq may involve the PKK in the destabilization of Syria.

SAA in Deir Ez-ZorMeanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army is establishing increased control over the region. On Saturday, the Syrian Arab Army  launched an operation against the central headquarter of the so-called “State of Islam” brigades in Deir Ez-Zor and foiled an attempt by Jabhat al-Nusrah insurgents to infiltrate into North Nubol, killing many and arresting one of the insurgents.

Asserting control over Deir Ez-Zor is of particular importance, because many of Syria´s most important oil fields are located in the Deir Ez-Zor region. Maintaining control over the oil fields foils the attempts of the international anti-Syrian alliance to finance the insurgents with money from stealing Syrian oil which is exported to the European Union. In 2010 Syria exported oil  for approximately 1 billion USD to the European Union.

Iran´s head of state, Ayatollah Khamenei has warned the people of the Middle East, and especially the people of Egypt and Iraq to be vigilant, as foreign powers attempt to provoke civil wars throughout the region. The increase in violence in the Kurdish region may be a precursor for the launching renewed, larger scale attacks from Jordan and Turkey, as analysts warn, that the Syrian opposition and the foreign powers behind it have planned a major military and political assault on Syria in August and September, to justify calls for a no-fly zone, humanitarian corridors and eventually, a military intervention.

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at nsnbc.wordpress@gmail.com

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